I find as I have gotten older, I have come to value both my European and Native American roots even more. For that reason, I try to incorporate ideas from both into important family holidays like Christmas.
Although I have done a Native American Christmas tree in at least one room of my house (usually the kitchen) for as far back as I can remember, this year I want to do more. I want to incorporate pieces of my Native American heritage into my main Christmas tree as well.
I plan to use feathers extensively within my tree. While Eagle feathers would be preferred, they can be difficult to find. They are also a bit small in size for my towering 8-foot tree. Therefore, I have chosen to use peacock feathers instead.
Birds, as a whole, were always highly valued by Native Americans. Some tribes considered the peacock second in value only to that of the eagle. That was because the peacock was looked upon as a symbol of spiritual strength and well being.
As such, peacock feathers were often used to protect a home or to safe guard the health of a family member. The feathers were believed to have the power to hold in positive energy while keeping negative energy at bay.
I have often seen peacock feathers incorporated in with Native American crafts and pottery. I have used them in that way myself from time to time.
Here are some ideas for incorporating this Native American symbol into your home at Christmas time. To begin; however, you will need several items:
Trim (ribbon, lace, braid, netting, leather strips etc.),
Silk or ribbon flowers,
Strings of beads,
Pre-made dream catchers,
Glue sticks and
Step 1. Decide how you want to incorporate your peacock feathers. I plan to use mine three different ways. First, I will use larger feathers to fill in any holes between tree branches. Second, I will use them to decorate existing ornaments. Third, I will use them as ornaments on their own.
Step 2. To use peacock feathers to fill in holes between tree branches, you will need large feathers. You will need to combine them with something else that has width and bulk, like ribbon, netting or flowers.
To combine the feathers with ribbon or netting, make a bow from the ribbon or netting first. Then catch the feather in the final tie-off of the piece’s streamers. Push the bow part deep into the hole of the tree, letting the feather extend outward to form a kind of replacement tree branch. The color will blend, making the tree look fuller at a distance and adding a spot of color close up.
To use peacock feathers with flowers, choose flowers that are large enough to fill the gaps between tree branches. Poinsettias, large roses or peonies are good choices for this purpose. Glue the feather to the flower, either to stick up at a 45-degree or lower angle or flat against the top of bottom. Put the flower in the tree hole and allow the feather to form a replacement tree branch as noted above.
Add additional layers of interesting texture into the mixture by tying lace, strings of beads, braiding or even tinsel to the filler piece, letting those items stream from the bottom in a rich cascade.
Step 3. Use peacock feathers with other ornaments like dream catchers or mirror pieces. Tie smaller pieces of the feather ‘” like a single eye ‘” onto the end of an ornament at either the top or bottom.
Trying combining peacock feathers with other types of feathers, like those from an eagle, to represent the bird family as a whole. Make a fan from the feathers to create a unique ornament design. Connect with glue and/or ribbon.
Tie feathers to existing Christmas bulbs or ornaments to update them and give them new life or to hide damage like cracks or chips that have occurred over the years.
Step 4. Make ornaments out of the feathers themselves. Spray a light coat of glitter over a feather so that it will shimmer when the tree lights hit it. Then just lay it into the tree as desired.
Glue loose jewels to peacock feather to enhance their natural beauty. Then dangle the feather from the ends of branches with ribbon.
Tie streamers of ribbon, beads, or tinsel from the end of peacock feathers to give them more length and depth. Hang them from the tree or lay them into the tree branches.
Step 5. Combine several different ideas, as outlined in the above steps, together to make your own unique Christmas ornaments.
There is no right or wrong way to incorporate peacock feathers into a Christmas tree. The idea should be to develop ideas and designs that will fit in well with your tree’s overall theme while also expressing your Native American roots.